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ECRI Institute Awarded AHRQ Contract to Establish National Healthcare Horizon Scanning System
Date:11/4/2010

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa., Nov. 4, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- ECRI Institute, an independent nonprofit that researches the best approaches to improving patient care, has been awarded a multi-year contract from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to establish the first national Healthcare Horizon Scanning System.

The goal of horizon scanning is to provide a comprehensive, systematic, transparent process for identifying, tracking, and monitoring new healthcare technologies, including drugs, medical devices, procedures, services, and care delivery innovations that could signal important changes in patient care, health outcomes, or the healthcare system. The horizon scanning process will contribute to AHRQ's deliberations for allocating resources for patient-centered outcomes research, and be a resource for the public more broadly.

"Every day we hear about new technologies that may lead to breakthroughs in medical science and patient care," says Karen Schoelles, MD, Project Director of the Healthcare Horizon Scanning System, and Director, ECRI Institute's Evidence-based Practice Center. "Through this exciting new program, we will assist AHRQ in identifying those interventions that hold promise for addressing the agency's priority health conditions.

AHRQ has identified fourteen high priority areas for horizon scanning and patient-centered outcomes research, including arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, dementia, depression, developmental delays, diabetes, functional limitations, infectious disease, obesity, peptic ulcer disease, pregnancy, pulmonary disease, and substance abuse.

"We will use a broad range of strategies and information resources to gather leads, collect information and diverse perspectives, and synthesize and report on them," says Vivian H. Coates, MBA, Vice President of Health Technology Assessment and Information Services at ECRI Institute.
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